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LA's Rodney King riot of 1992 was America's deadliest and most expensive civil disturbance in the 20th Century. A young lawyer named Connie Rice saw it as an opportunity. Taking up Martin Luther King's call for a "radical reconstruction of society itself," she made legal war on the brutal abuse of blacks and Hispanics by the LAPD and the Sheriff's Department. At the risk of her life, she learned the worst about gang culture, and ultimately enlisted gang members, as well as whistle-blowing cops, to help bring about real reform. We talk to her about the achievements, and the setbacks, she describes in her new book, Power Concedes Nothing. On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, Dr. King's dream and American politics.

Banner image: Connie Rice, taken from the front cover of her new book

Main Topic Connie Rice: Fighting the Good Fight 26 MIN, 18 SEC

book.jpgAsked recently for a job description, Connie Rice called herself a "civic entrepreneur" or a "democracy engineer." LAPD Chief Charlie Beck calls her "the conscience of the city" of Los Angeles -- and she has own parking space at police headquarters. That's a big change for a young lawyer who joined the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund here in 1990, promising a campaign of "impact litigation" against the LAPD and the Sheriff's Department, hoping to "redefine traditional civil rights in the 21st Century."  That's just one of the ambitious goals she lines out in a remarkable book called Power Concedes Nothing: One Woman's Quest for Social Justice in America, from the Courtroom to the Kill Zones.

Connie Rice, Advancement Project in Los Angeles (@ConnieRicePCN)

Main Topic The Politics of Race in the Era of Barack Obama 24 MIN, 31 SEC

obama-king.jpgBarack Obama is the first black man elected President of the United States. Nobody can deny that constitutes progress toward Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream of a "colorblind" society. But others call Barack Obama a Muslim who was born outside the country. What role does race play in American politics?  In the re-election campaign?

Peniel Joseph, University of Texas at Austin (@PenielJoseph)
Marie Stroughter, African American Conservatives (@mariestroughter)
Walter Rhett, historian and writer (@walterrhett)
Mikki Taylor, Essence magazine

Dark Days, Bright Nights

Peniel E. Joseph

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